By Sonali Paul MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia is on the verge of becoming the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, with dozens of tankers a week carrying fuel to North Asia. It could also soon be importing LNG as supply sources in its southern states run out. Five LNG import projects are vying to start up between 2021 and 2022, possibly forcing gas users in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria into more direct competition with Asian buyers for gas from northern Australia. Those states represent a yearly market of 420 petajoules (PJ), equivalent to 7.8 million tonnes of LNG worth about $3 billion. That represents just 2 percent of global LNG trade, but import proponents say the terminals would be another key outlet for spot cargoes of the fuel, especially during periods of low demand in the northern hemisphere. Piping gas from Queensland in northern Australia to southern markets is expensive, making LNG imports potentially viable. Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic says, though, if final investment decisions are delayed into 2020, the case for imports will weaken as pipeline tariff reforms are likely by then. "Based on the five proposals to date, Australia now appears to be planning to overbuild LNG import capacity in response to an overbuild of LNG export capacity," Kavonic said. Eastern Australia has ample gas reserves to meet demand. The market outlook is tight, though, due to falling output from Exxon Mobil's and BHP Group's Gippsland Basin joint venture off Victoria, rising production costs and state restrictions on onshore drilling. "We definitely would see a rationale for one terminal to give another source of gas into the east coast market," said Nicholas Browne, Asia gas and LNG director at consultancy Wood Mackenzie. "We think one terminal would be sufficient till the mid to late 2020s." Import advocates need to be wary, however, of potential government moves to divert gas from exports to the domestic market and approvals for two long-delayed local gas projects, Narrabri and Surat. Gippsland Basin output could also prove more resilient than expected. AGL's Crib Point project is the most likely to go ahead, industry executives and analysts say. Australian Industrial Energy's (AIE) Port Kembla terminal is also possible, but that hinges on signing up industrial customers. Two other projects - Newcastle LNG, led by privately owned South Korean firm EPIK, and Venice Energy, set up by former executives of BHP Group now at Integrated Global Partners - have yet to submit applications for state approvals. MAP: Australia's proposed LNG import terminals - https://tmsnrt.rs/2BKyDDJ Newcastle LNG and Venice Energy are looking to limit commercial risk by building import terminals and charging suppliers and traders to regasify LNG to sell to customers. "We aim to provide a cost-efficient infrastructure solution in markets that are in need of gas," said EPIK founder Jee Yoon. Australian LNG producer Woodside Petroleum said gas for such pay-per-use terminals could come from Australia, the United States, Asia, wherever spot prices are cheapest. "We would take those cargoes out of our portfolio, and we would decide where they come from," Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman told reporters in February. Exxon Mobil is a big wild card, as it is considering imports to protect its turf in southeastern Australia, where it has been the dominant supplier for nearly 50 years. Its infrastructure and experience selling into the southeastern market put it in a unique position, said Exxon Mobil Australia Chairman Richard Owen. "We've got some competitive advantage and probably have a little bit more time than some of the other players," Owen said at a business event on Friday. GRAPHIC: Eastern & south-eastern Australia domestic gas production (excluding LNG) - https://tmsnrt.rs/2Lcqprj ADVANTAGE TO AGL Importing LNG into a gas-rich country is not new. Both Malaysia and Indonesia, the third and fifth-biggest LNG producers, have import terminals because transporting gas between islands by ship makes more sense than pipelines. AGL, Australia's No.2 energy retailer, is the furthest ahead with its import plan. Pending a state environmental review, it expects to make a final investment decision by early 2020, targeting first imports in 2021. Its advantage over AIE is that it has an existing customer base for its gas. AIE still hopes to be the first up and running, expecting approval from New South Wales this quarter for a mid-2020 start. "We think there's a significant shortfall of gas in the domestic market," said AIE Chief Executive James Baulderstone. AIE, working with the world's biggest LNG buyer, Japan's JERA, and Marubeni Corp on import plans at Port Kembla in New South Wales, has been talking to industrial customers for more than a year, without yet signing any buyers. "We've had oil prices moving around a fair bit and a lot of our LNG is priced to oil. That's obviously a big issue," Baulderstone said. At $60 a barrel for oil, several dollars below the current Brent price, AIE sees LNG imports as competitive with domestic pipeline gas. [O/R] Industrial users are reluctant to commit to imports amid uncertainty over local gas developments, notably Narrabri in New South Wales, for which Santos Ltd hopes to win state approval this year. Royal Dutch Shell's and PetroChina's Arrow Energy Surat project in Queensland, Australia's biggest undeveloped coal seam gas resource, aims to start producing by 2021, but has been delayed due to a spat between the partners. An international LNG trader said Australia could build up to two LNG import terminals, but called it absurd. The country just needs to lower pipeline tariffs to ease the flow of gas from north to south, he said. "As a trader, I think it's really insane. When this kind of insanity happens, it doesn't last for very long." MAP: Australia's LNG projects and gas basins - https://tmsnrt.rs/2MffKLY (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Additional reporting by Yuka Obayashi and Aaron Sheldrick in TOKYO; Editing by Tom Hogue)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
This Description of Ivanka Trump's Face After Talking With Dad Donald Trump on Jan. 6 Will Stay With You
While much has been written about Jan. 6 and Donald Trump’s reaction while it was going down, Bob Woodward’s new book, Peril, is giving readers more insight into what happened behind closed doors. The day was fraught with a lot of drama, and as we know, much of the burden of getting through to the […]
- Business Insider
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene got into a shouting match outside the Capitol with a Democratic congresswoman over abortion: 'Try being a Christian!'
The far-right congresswoman confronted Democrats on the steps outside the House chamber after the passage of a Democratic bill to protect abortion.
Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon made her second runway appearance at Rihanna's Savage X Fenty fashion show
The 24-year-old made her New York Fashion Week debut in 2018, and two years later, she's now a part of Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Vol. 3 show.
- Yahoo Life
Elizabeth Banks implored her followers to hydrate as she posted an unfiltered selfie to Instagram.
- Charlotte Observer
Property tax records reveal sale price, prominent buyer of NASCAR team’s 22-acre site near Concord airport.
Neighbors say they saw Brian Laundrie and his parents leave their Florida home with an attached camper after he returned from his trip with Gabby Petito
Authorities are still searching for Laundrie, who has been missing since last Tuesday and is a person of interest in Petito's death.
The MSNBC host signed off with one heck of a zinger.
- The Telegraph
While focus remains firmly fixed on Covid-19, a second health crisis is quietly emerging in Britain. Since the beginning of July, there have been thousands of excess deaths which were not caused by coronavirus.
- Business Insider
Trump releases statement falsely claiming GOP audit in Arizona uncovered 'undeniable evidence' of fraud after the audit confirmed Biden won
Trump said a partisan GOP audit in Arizona found "undeniable evidence" of fraud, but a spokesperson for Cyber Ninjas contradicted that claim.
- Golf Channel
Bryson DeChambeau, the Tour's leader in driving distance last year, nearly drove his opening tee shot 364 yards onto the green.
- The Telegraph
On the surface my life was perfect: in my 30s, I was working in fashion and living in London. It was the dream. In reality, I’d outgrown the insidious fashion business and was stumbling through a dysfunctional romance in pursuit of love.
- Golf Channel
After sitting out the opening session, Bryson DeChambeau wasted no time generating some excitement Friday at the Ryder Cup.
- Warriors Wire
With a hilarious post on Instagram, Klay Thompson showed off his classic ride.
- Business Insider
People who've had booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines say it feels "like a hangover," and describe feeling really tired the day after.
- The Telegraph
For years she has taken a largely background role in the world’s most famous family. Quietly concentrating on her studies, until very recently Lady Louise Windsor was the Royal grandchild who was seen but not heard.
- NBC Sports
Because of an engine change, F1 championship leader Max Verstappen will start from the rear of the starting grid in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix.
- E! News
Coco Austin raised eyebrows after posting a picture of her and Ice-T's 5-year-old daughter Chanel wearing "mini" nail tips. However, it was for a "special occasion." Read her message below.
- WLWT - Cincinnati
West Chester police said dozens of teenagers — some as young as 13 — are working in groups ransacking cars looking for weapons and stealing vehicles for joyrides.
British tabloids are slamming Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's New York trip for the same reasons they celebrated Prince William and Kate Middleton's last visit to the city
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's New York itinerary is similar to Prince William and Kate Middleton's, but British tabloids are criticizing the visit.
- Bears Wire
From Justin Fields finding success on the ground to Robert Quinn registering another sack, here are our bold predictions for Bears-Browns.